South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen plays a cover drive on the fourth day of the second Test against Pakistan. Picture: Aamir Qureshi/AFP
South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen plays a cover drive on the fourth day of the second Test against Pakistan. Picture: Aamir Qureshi/AFP

Proteas have to ’stay in the moment’ to pull off Rawalpindi miracle

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Feb 7, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s belief in their batting remains strong despite a plethora of failures recently, with Enoch Nkwe emphasising that the Proteas need to stay in the present if they are to claim what is still an unlikely victory in the second Test in Rawalpindi against Pakistan.

Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram will resume on Monday morning with South Africa on 127/1, still 243 runs short of the target of 371 set by the hosts after a fine century by Mohammad Rizwan.

“We believe we can win the game,” said Nkwe, the Proteas assistant coach.

ALSO READ: Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen give Proteas a glimmer of hope

It is a belief that’s not based on much more than faith, because South Africa’s batting in the last few years has been poor and in the three innings they’ve played in the current series, they suffered batting collapses each time.

Nevertheless Nkwe said the coaching staff have stressed that all negative thoughts be put aside. “We’ve done a lot of work in terms of clearing their minds and to play within their own character,” said Nkwe.

Markram made his second half-century of the series, finishing the day on 59 not out, while Van der Dussen, was on 48, with the pair’s partnership for the second wicket currently worth 94.

The same duo had shared a 127-run partnership for the second wicket in South Africa’s second innings in the Karachi Test, but it was the loss of both their wickets late on the third day there, that was a turning point in that match which Pakistan went on to win.

ALSO READ: George Linde puts pain into perspective as Proteas battle to save Pakistan series

“We lowered our intensity on the third evening of the first Test and we looked at that and you saw the guys responding,” said Nkwe.

“The same two who were in that situation (in the first Test) tonight took full responsibility to ensure the team doesn’t fall into that situation that we found ourselves in previously.”

The approach for the final day on Monday will be much the same as it was on the fourth evening.

“We have to keep up the intensity, stay in the moment and not get carried away by looking into the future, worrying about what is possibly going to happen. If opportunities present themselves to score then take those and if we have to absorb the pressure we have to do that.”

South Africa last chased a total of more than 200 in the fourth innings to win a Test, 10 years against Australia at Newlands, making 236/2 on that occasion.

The highest successful fourth innings runs chase in Pakistan, occurred in 1994 when the home team chased down 314 to beat Australia by one wicket in Karachi.

@shockerhess

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